Happy Mother's Day

There’s a story in today’s New York Times about the origins of Mother’s Day. (I’d link it, but generally, you need to register and stuff to access their articles.) The gist of the short article is that, as a young girl, Anna Marie Jarvis once heard her mother end a Sunday school prayer with the words:
“I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial Mother’s Day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”
After her mother’s death in 1905, Anna vowed she would make her mother’s dream come true. As a result of Anna’s petitioning, in 1914, President Wilson signed a resolution proclaiming the second Sunday in May a national Mother’s Day.

As time went on, Anna watched as her holiday became desecrated by commercialization. She spent the rest of her life battling various mother’s groups and the florist trade, calling them unscrupulous and accusing them of profiteering.

Before her death in 1948, Anna Jarvis petitioned unsuccessfully to have the holiday rescinded. She died broke – and childless – in a Philadelphia sanitarium.

According to the Times, Americans will spend nearly $16 billion on Mother’s Day this year.


While I wondered what to post today, I thought about my own mother, who passed away a little more than five years ago. What would be a good musical selection; something she would listen to if she were to read this? I don’t remember her being much of a music fan. My dad was the one who bought records and introduced me to Elvis and the Beatles. She’d listen to the radio if it was on, and she was tolerant of whatever I blasted from the confines of my bedroom, but I don’t remember her caring enough about music to pursue it. If anything, I suppose my mom’s tastes ran toward middle-of-the-road, what you would call “adult contemporary.” She probably would have enjoyed “American Idol.”

One group I recall her listening to throughout much of her life, though, was Simon and Garfunkel. I never talked to her about music, so I don’t know what she found appealing about them. Maybe the harmonies, maybe the catchiness of the songs, maybe just that it was mellow. Whatever it was, it was something I would grow to share with her as I, too, became a fan of Simon and Garfunkel.

In memory of my own mother and to all the other mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day.

The Boxer.mp3
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).mp3


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